The possibilities that libraries afford humanity are endless. Information. Resources. Education and opportunity are simple steps to the betterment of individuals and stepping stones towards a greater society. Simply put, when we invest in opening the doors of information to people through libraries, we invest in the strength of our community. If we want our community to thrive, then we must look for ways to get involved which means supporting societal structures that help everyone like public libraries. The library is one of the most incredible places where the possibility for personal growth, a stronger connection to community and a better world to live is just a visit away.
The first library in Shasta County was a municipal library built in 1903 in Library Park with a grant from the Carnegie Foundation.
The Carnegie Library became part of a county library system that formed in the late 1940s of the county library system formed in the late 1940s. The system thrived for several decades – culminating in a main library and 23 branches and stations.
The passage of Proposition 13 negatively impacted funding for the library and ultimately resulted in its closure in 1987. The County reopened three libraries – in Redding, Burney and Anderson – in 1988 with funding assistance from the Cities of Redding and Anderson, the Burney residents and community, and later, the Friends of the Library.
The Shasta Library Foundation was established in 1991 in response to a continuing weak financial base with the purpose of providing funding stability and enhancing the services and resources of the library through the creation of a permanent endowment. In the mid-1990s, the Shasta Library Foundation received a bequest from the Elizabeth G. Hyatt Trust that funded a restricted Book Fund and the assets of the Redding Women’s Club provided the beginning of the General Endowment Fund. The Shasta Library Foundation board members spent most of the 1990s participating in numerous committees, task forces, and commissions looking for ways to improve library services and facilities.
The passage in 2000 of the Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act provided an unprecedented opportunity for citizens in Shasta County to build a new library. The Shasta Library Foundation’s board members worked collaboratively with New Library Now! to raise the local funds needed to obtain the state grant.
With the new building under construction, concerns again surfaced about keeping the Library open. Under the leadership of the Shasta Library Foundation, a final task force addressed the significant ongoing operational, financial, and governance issues challenging the Library.
The Task Force recommended a joint city/county library system with the City of Redding owning the Redding Library headquarters, the County retaining ownership of the branches and contracting with the City to operate the system. The City has also contracted with a private company called Library Systems and Services (LS&S) to manage the library system.
The new Redding Library opened in March 2007 with a huge community celebration, including a passing of the books from the old library to the new library.
The Shasta Library Foundation continues to play a leadership role with a permanent representative on the five member citizen Library Advisory Committee advising the Redding City Council which serves as the Library Board.